When you first start a striking martial art, such as Boxing or Muay Thai, you’ll notice that before anyone hits anything they sit around and wrap material around their hands – but this doesn’t look anything like the material you see on pro-boxers hands on the TV. Then when you google ‘boxing hand wraps’ you see things that look like fingerless gloves with some added padding. We’ve already written an article explaining why you need to wrap your hands, but how do you pick between all the different sorts you can find?
These are the ones that look like fingerless gloves and most budget brands, like RDX and Everlast offer variations of these (in fact, we’ve reviewed both the Everlast and RDX inner gloves already). They’re good if you’re looking for a quick option, that doesn’t require any knowhow to use. However, they only offer general protection, with no option to add extra padding to areas you want more support in, and the support they do offer isn’t significant. They’re better than not using any form of handwrap, but nowhere near as protective as the other options on this list – they’re probably better suited to boxfit classes rather than someone seriously training as a striker.
‘Fast Wraps’ are a reasonably new addition to the market (offered by Birmingham, England based brand Fortress Boxing as an alternative to traditional handwraps). We recently reviewed their Obsidian Pro Series Fastwraps, and found a few pros and cons. They’re backed by a several pro boxers, and offer a quick alternative to tape and gauze or material wraps (we’ll cover them later) but they do require you to stretch out the gloves you’re choosing to use them with to make sure they fit properly. This isn’t an ideal situation, you have to either stick to a specific pair of gloves or stretch all your pairs and only use Fastwraps, but they do offer a brilliant level of support and protection, and are a great alternative to more traditional methods of wrapping your hands.
These are your standard hand wraps, which you see the majority of people use in a boxing gym. They’re so popular because of their versatility, you can find hundreds of guides on how to wrap your hands using cloth wraps, and they can provide extra protection around, for example, your wrist if you feel you’re more at risk of an injury there. They’re inexpensive, come in a huge range of colours and basically every brand offers them (you can find our review of the Yokkao Cotton Handwraps here). You can even get different lengths to ensure you have enough material to provide you with the right amount of support. You just need to spend a bit of time finding the wrapping technique that works best for you.
Elastic ‘Mexican Style’ Wraps
These are very similar to the cloth wraps we’ve just mentioned, but the difference is they’re slightly elasticated. This extra stretch allows you to wrap your hands a bit tighter and maximise the support that the wraps give an area. We’ve previously reviewed a pair of Hayabusa wraps that fall perfectly into this ‘Mexican Style’ category.
Tape and Gauze
Finally we get to the sort of wraps you see on TV, those white ones with the tape. Unless you’re a pro boxer its really unlikely you’ll use this style of wrapping outside of a competition, as its time consuming and requires another person to do for you. During competition there are various rules about the amount of tape and gauze you’re permitted to use, but (other than a couple brand like Empire Pro Tape Goat Tape who have specific boxing tape) most of the stuff you see are pretty standard medical supplies. The advantage is huge amounts of support where you need it and far superior comfort (though as we said, Fortress Boxing Fastwraps offer a great alternative that a lot of Pro’s use).
Hopefully we’ve shed some light on the sometimes confusing world of handwraps for boxing, MMA and other combat sports but if you’re still unsure about which handwraps to go for, check out the reviews we have on our accessory reviews page.